Each month in our Little Doebahyou Cultural Activity Box, we incorporate one, kid-friendly recipe from the country that we are exploring. We do this not only so that your family can taste the culture of the particular country, but also because cooking with your child(ren) has several amazing benefits.
Here are 6 reasons why we think that cooking is an amazing activity to do with your children. And as a bonus for you and your family, click on any of the images to download simple, kid-friendly, cultural recipes that you can make with your child(ren) tonight!
1. Cooking Helps Children Learn Basic Math Skills
Following simple recipes can help children begin to explore basic math concepts like counting, adding, measuring, and fractions. Not only will cooking help start to familiarize younger children with these concepts, it can also help older kids with practical application. With the emphasis on STEM in schools all over the country, cooking is a fun way to introduce your child(ren) to the principles of math and science.
2. Cooking Promotes Creativity
Art, music, dance and theater are not the only ways that children can express themselves creatively. Cooking encourages children to take ownership of a project, and witness as ingredients come together to make an amazing meal. In addition, allowing your children to take part in a process that benefits the entire family can boost their confidence in their ability to complete tasks and be a contributing member of the family.
3. Cooking Develops Children’s Senses
Cooking is a great activity for children because it allows them to use their senses. Whether is rolling dough with their hands, or watching it rise with their eyes, there are a variety of sights, sounds, smells, and tastes that be stimulated from preparation to presentation. Asking questions like, what do you smell or how does it taste as you cook together will help your child take note of all of the different senses he/she can employ in every day observations.
4. Cooking Fosters Good Listening Skills/Following Directions
When you are cooking, the success of your meal depends on your ability to follow the recipe. Having your child follow the recipe (or verbal directions if they cannot yet read) will help them develop their reading and listening skills.
5. Cooking is a Valuable Bonding Experience
Throughout our research, we have found that parents want to create quality family experiences with their children, but many either don’t know where to start or don’t have the resources to do so. But family time doesn’t need to be expensive nor does it need to be extravagant. Cooking is the perfect way to spend some extra time with your kids. Take the time as you cook to ask your children about their day and find out what is going on in their lives. Any time that you and your family are spending together, enjoying each other’s company, is successful family time.
6. Cooking Can Improve Cultural Awareness
Cooking is a great way for you to introduce culture into your child’s life. There are a variety of foods throughout Africa & the Diaspora that are delicious and fun to make! As you incorporate these foods into your family’s mealtime, not only will your child begin to expand his/her palate (goodbye picky eaters!), you will also give your child an introduction to the different cultures of the world. And because the Diaspora is so wide-reaching, many of the foods have similarities to American foods.
Cooking is something that most families do regularly, and with a little preparation, you can turn this routine activity into a fun, family experience that your child(ren) will look forward to.
Be sure to click on the images to download three, free, simple, fun, cultural recipes, that you can cook with your child today!